Charlie Hammerton

Meet the RAF man taking on a 73-mile charity hike with a difference.

Charlie Hammerton is planning to raise awareness of motor neurone disease, as well as thousands of pounds for St Elizabeth Hospice, by walking along Hadrian's Wall.

It comes after he lost his mother Jan earlier this month.

Charlie Hammerton & Bandit

There to keep him company on his quest, however, will be an unusual partner-in-crime.

The Ipswich serviceman is taking his pet ferret Bandit along for the ride.

They're aiming to become the fastest man and ferret to complete the challenge next month.

The airman is quoted by the East Anglian Daily Times as saying:

"While this might seem a slightly crazy thing to do it's good to be able to throw myself into planning the hike and doing something positive to benefit two great charities."

He added that while "it's not a bad challenge for a seasoned walker at more than 80 miles long":

"It's going to be extra hard to complete with a hiking partner who is just six inches tall and sharing a tent is no fun as while he sleeps like a log, Bandit also stinks like only a happy healthy ferret can."

Bandit the Ferret
How Bandit might look while hunkering down

"I'm aiming to be the fastest man and ferret to walk the entire path," he added.

"Bandit is good company and goes most places with me but his conversation is limited so it would be great to meet up with any locals along the way for just a few miles of this expedition."

"I wanted to raise funds for both St Elizabeth Hospice and the Motor Neurone Disease (MND) Association.

"The hospice was brilliant with my mum and I also want to support the work the MND Association does to make sure that no one has to go through what mum did in the future, so I’ll be splitting any sponsorship two ways and hope to raise around £1,000 in total."

Charlie starts the walk in Newcastle on April 10, just days after his mother's funeral.